THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

 

TO:

The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents

FROM:

Johanna Duncan-Poitier

COMMITTEE:

Higher Education and Professional Practice

TITLE OF ITEM:

Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education

Recommendation of Accreditation Action: Wells College

DATE OF SUBMISSION:

February 18, 2005

PROPOSED HANDLING:

Action

RATIONALE FOR ITEM:

Wells College relies on the Regents as their accreditation agency for teacher education programs

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 1, 2, and 3

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

Wells College, Aurora, has applied for accreditation of its teacher education programs by Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE).  The attached Summary of the Application for Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs and Departmentís Preliminary Recommendation for Accreditation Action lists the registered programs leading to certification offered by Wells College.

 

Wells College was incorporated by act of the Legislature on March 28, 1868, under the name Wells Seminary, with the object and purpose of promoting the higher education of young women in literature, science and the arts.  The charter was amended in 1870 to change the name to Wells College. In 1908, the Board of Regents granted the College authority to award the B.A. degree.  In September 1969, the Collegeís charter was again amended to indicate that the ďobject and purpose of said corporation are hereby declared to be to promote the education of young women and young men in literature, science and the arts.Ē 

 

At the time of the site visit, 72 full-time and 2 part-time candidates had chosen to enter teacher preparation, which entails a rigorous liberal arts major and pedagogical core, including opportunities for diverse field experiences.  Eleven percent of full-time candidates were from underrepresented groups.

 

 

 

 

Preparation of teacher candidates at Wells College is the responsibility of the education program, in conjunction with the Collegeís liberal arts departments.  The Education programs are field based. Candidates may complete internships near their home or explore diverse settings such as New York City, Hawaii, or schools for Navajo children such as the Tuba City Boarding School in Arizona.

 

The education programís mission is to create teachers who have a critical understanding of current theory; are responsive, skilled practitioners; have an extensive knowledge of New York State Learning Standards and the ability to implement instruction that supports these standards and who understand and practice the principles of effective leadership within the greater systems of school and community.

 

          Following receipt of a self-study, a site visit team composed of peer reviewers and a review coordinator from the Office of College and University Evaluation visited the College in October 2004.  A draft report of the teamís findings was prepared and transmitted to the College for review and comment.  It was the teamís overall assessment that the College was in compliance with the standards set forth in Regents Rules, Subpart 4-2.  The team cited several program strengths, including a strong liberal arts education and experiential learning curriculum, excellent student/teacher ratios and individual attention to candidates, a high regard for teacher candidates among school administrators, and extraordinary and effective efforts to recruit diverse students and faculty.  

 

The team did cite areas for improvement.  These include the need to minimize the number of credits to complete the major in liberal arts, the minor in education, and additional required courses to meet certification requirements; the need for implementing a comprehensive assessment system as a basis for programmatic changes, based on data analysis collected from candidates, graduates, cooperating teachers/mentors, school administrators, education employers, and the community at large; and the need to stabilize and maintain an adequate number of qualified full-time teacher education faculty.

 

The Summary of the Application for Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs and Departmentís Preliminary Recommendation on Accreditation Action is attached.  Materials providing additional information on the Collegeís application and the review process are available in the Regents Office.

 

          At their January 20, 2005 meeting, the Higher Education Subcommittee of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching considered the Departmentís preliminary recommendation for accreditation and the self-study and report underlying that recommendation.  The Subcommittee voted, with one abstention, to recommend that the teacher education programs offered by Wells College be conditionally accredited, with a focused site visit in three years to evaluate:

 

1.     The development of a written plan for program coherence that explains how each program is structured;

 

2.     Evidence that articulation agreements and internal discussions have addressed the area for improvement, identified by the site visit team, that candidates often need more than four years to complete a curriculum that encompasses 140 credits or more;

 

3.     The development and implementation of a formal data collection and assessment system that links candidatesí progress with program goals and includes formal measurement taken after program completion and graduation;

 

4.     Continuing progress in hiring sufficient qualified, full-time faculty to teach, supervise, assess candidate performance, and review and develop teacher education curriculum for each field of certification; and

 

5.     Development and implementation of a flexible, realistic plan that responds to and accommodates changes in the internal and external environment and provides guidance and direction for resource enhancement and allocation to support the teacher education programs in achieving their goals and objectives.

 

Recommendation:  I recommend that the Regents take the following action: 

 

VOTED, that the Board of Regents grant accreditation of the teacher education programs offered by Wells College, Aurora, New York, effective March 15, 2005, for a period beginning immediately and ending on March 14, 2012, with the condition that a focused site visit be conducted before March 14, 2008, to address the issues cited by the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching.   Accreditation beyond March 14, 2008 shall be contingent on a finding that the College has satisfactorily addressed the identified issues.

 

Attachment

 

 


STATE PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS AND PRACTICES BOARD FOR TEACHING

 

Higher Education Subcommittee

 

RATE Accreditation Recommendation

 

Wells College

 

VOTED, That the Higher Education subcommittee of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, meeting on January 20, 2005, following review and discussion of the compliance review report on the teacher education programs offered by Wells College, on the basis of the record* before it recommends to the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education that the teacher education programs offered by Wells College be conditionally accredited, with a focused site visit in three years to evaluate:

 

6.     The development of a written plan for program coherence that explains how each program is structured;

7.     Evidence that articulation agreements and internal discussions have addressed the area for improvement, identified by the site visit team, that candidates often need more than four years to complete a curriculum that encompasses 140 credits or more;

8.     The development and implementation of a formal data collection and assessment system that links candidatesí progress with program goals and includes formal measurement taken after program completion and graduation;

9.     Continuing progress in hiring sufficient qualified, full-time faculty to teach, supervise, assess candidate performance, and review and develop teacher education curriculum for each field of certification; and

10.  Development and implementation of a flexible, realistic plan that responds to and accommodates changes in the internal and external environment and provides guidance and direction for resource enhancement and allocation to support the teacher education programs in achieving their goals and objectives.

 

Approved by five voting members of the Subcommittee, with one abstention.

 

________________________________________               ____________________

Higher Education Subcommittee Chair

 

*Including the Departmentís preliminary recommendation for accreditation action, the institutionís self-study, its application for accreditation, other documents relevant to the Departmentís preliminary recommendation, and any additional written submissions by the institution.  Representatives of the institution were present to respond to questions by the Subcommittee.

 


Wells College

 

Summary of the Application for Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs and Departmentís Preliminary Recommendation on Accreditation Action

 

          Wells College, Aurora, Cayuga County, has applied for accreditation of its programs of study leading to teacher certification under the Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE).

 

Preliminary Recommendation for Accreditation Action: 

 

Accreditation, with term and conditions, if any, as recommended by the Higher Education Subcommittee of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board.

 

Teacher Education Programs to Be Accredited:

 

Wells College offers 17 baccalaureate programs leading to initial New York State teacher certification:

 

Degree and Program Title                                               Certification

B.A., Biological & Chemical Science: Biology                    Biology 7-12

B.A., Biological & Chemical Science: Chemistry      Chemistry 7-12

B.A., Mathematical & Physical Science: Physics     Physics 7-12 & Childhood 1-6

B.A., Mathematical & Physical Science: Mathematics        Math 7-12 & Childhood 1-6

B.A., English                                                                  English 7-12 & Childhood 1-6

B.A., History                                                                   Social Studies 7-12 &

Childhood 1-6

B.A. Foreign Language, Literature and Culture             French 7-12, German 7-12, Spanish 7-12 & Childhood 1-6

B.A. International Studies                                           Childhood 1-6

B.A. Individualized Major                                            Childhood 1-6

B.A. American Studies                                               Childhood 1-6

B.A. Mathematical & Phys Science: Computer Sci.       Childhood 1-6

B.A. Womenís Studies                                               Childhood 1-6

B.A. Religious Studies & Human Values                       Childhood 1-6

B.A. Economics & Management                                  Childhood 1-6

B.A. Sociology and Anthropology                                Childhood 1-6

B.A. Pub Affairs: Ethics, Politics & Soc Pol                  Childhood 1-6

B.A. Psychology                                                        Childhood 1-6

 

In 2002-03, Wells had 398 full-time and 17 part-time students.  In the last three years, the proportion of students of color ranged from 15 to 18 percent.  In 2003-04, the Education Program had 72 full-time and two part-time candidates; 11 percent of the full-time candidates were from underrepresented groups.

 

Preparation of teacher candidates at Wells College is the responsibility of the Education Program, in conjunction with the Collegeís liberal arts departments.  The Education Programís mission is to:

 

create teachers who have a critical understanding of current theory; are responsive, skilled practitioners; have an extensive knowledge of the New York State Learning Standards and the ability to implement instruction that supports these standards and who understand and practice the principles of effective leadership within the greater systems of school and community.

 

Wells takes pride in its rich liberal arts curriculum and in its emphasis on experiential learning, which provides opportunities for teacher candidates to connect their liberal arts education with the world of work, including internships and study abroad, as well as research and community service experiences.  Candidates complete a major in a liberal arts subject, a 20-credit minor in education, and additional credits needed to meet certification requirements.  The combination may require candidates to complete 140 or more credits.

 

          Both the Elementary and Secondary Education programs are field-based; each pedagogical course includes a field component.  Continuing matriculated students are required to participate in credit-bearing courses during at least three of four January intercessions.  These courses may include internships, off-campus study courses or independent study.  The students may opt to complete the internship near their home or to explore diverse settings such as New York City, Hawaii, or schools for Navajo children.  The most recent Navajo experience involved taking ten Wells students to Tuba City, Arizona, to work with Navajo children at the Tuba City Boarding School.

 

Summary of Findings and Institutional Response:

 

Following a review of the institutionís self-study, a RATE team visited Wells on October 25-29, 2003.  It conducted an on-site review of evidence, including documents in the exhibit room, interviews with College and school-based faculty and administrators, candidates, and alumni.

 

The team identified the following strengths of the Education Program:

 

       A strong liberal arts education and experiential learning curriculum, including local and global field-based experiences, providing for sound candidate preparation to teach to the New York State Learning Standards.

 

       The size of the Wells College community allows for excellent teacher-student ratios, individual attention to candidates, and close working relationships between faculties in education and the disciplines.

 

       The Visiting Directorís spirit of enthusiasm, professionalism and caring was the catalyst for continued growth in the Education Department.

 

       Teacher candidates from Wells College are highly regarded in the field and several administrators commented on their skills as student teachers.

 

       Wells College makes extraordinary and effective efforts to recruit diverse students and faculty.

 

The team saw a core of College and school-based personnel highly committed to excellence in teacher preparation with a focus on effective pedagogical methodologies to address the needs of school districts and classroom students.  The team also saw a need to enhance advisement of teacher candidates to minimize the number of credits needed to complete the major, the Education minor, and the courses needed for certification.  In addition, it saw a need to formalize assessment systems to document achievement of program objectives and candidate outcomes, followed by curriculum improvements and resource allocations, where appropriate.

 

In its response, the College accepted all of the Teamís recommendations.  In addition, it provided an update on staffing changes, a critical Area for Improvement.  The response identified three full-time faculty who will teach the education curriculum; five qualified faculty with doctoral degrees from the philosophy, psychology, and sociology departments will also teach education-related courses.  Since the visit, the College has added a full-time, tenure-track faculty member in secondary education.  A request for the addition of a foreign language/education faculty member was awaiting approval as of October 14, 2004 (additional information submitted after the original College response).

      

Basis for the Preliminary Recommendation for Accreditation Action:

 

The College makes exceptional efforts in outreach to diverse populations and in providing field experiences to teacher candidates in urban, rural, Native American, and international settings.  It is encouraged to finalize field placements efforts with area colleges and school districts to extend these experiences.

 

It was the teamís overall assessment that the College is in compliance with the standards found in Subpart 4-2 of the Regents Rules.  The College has presented satisfactory plans to address all Areas for Improvement.  Three issues, which require more time to determine the degree of successful planning and implementation, continue to be of concern:

 

1.     Enhancing advisement of teacher candidates to minimize the number of credits needed to complete the major, the Education minor, and the courses needed for certification;

 

2.     Implementing a comprehensive, systematic assessment system, as a basis for programmatic changes, to determine teacher education program effectiveness, based on data analyses of information collected from candidates, graduates, cooperating teachers/mentors, school administrators, education employers, and the community at large, where applicable; and

 

3.     Stabilizing and maintaining an adequate number of qualified full-time teacher education faculty to teach, supervise, and assess candidate performance and review and develop teacher education curriculum.